miter question


i have a wall that is about hip high that forms a 90 degree enclosing a set of steps going down to the basement. i would like to widen( or cap ) the top with some wider lumber so that it may be used for placing knick-knacks, pictures etc. but it seems to me that the length of each piece (forms a 90 )needs to be longer than the narrower mitered pieces that i will be attaching to. am i right and is there a formula to determine what the length of the new wider pieces of lumber that will be attached? thanks, cj
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cj wrote:

Finished overall length is distance to outside of wall plus overhang. Start by making the miter joints fit w/ material w/ length to spare then cut square ends to length.
If use very wide solid material, be _very_ sure it is _completely_ dry or the miter will open up as it dries and shrinks. If you want a really wide cap, you might consider using cabinet-grade ply for the main pieces and face it w/ matching hardwood.
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dpb wrote:

<<cabinet-grade ply>>
is that something that home depot would stock? thanks, cj
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I know lowes has it. Home depot probably does too. You'll need a table saw to cut it accurately. Since this is stairs to the basement and we have no idea of the finish or usage of your basement you probably ought to start with a budget. I say this because cabinet ply ain't cheap in sizes big enough to cut shelves from. What abouts are you thinkng this should cost you? Is painted and acceptable finish or do you want to be able to stain this?
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jamesgangnc wrote:

i am going to stain the top pieces which will probably be maple...i thought about painting the underside with kilz to prevent moisture from getting in cj
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Does the area have humidity issues? What is under your proposed shelves? dpb is right, a miter joint on long boards will have issues if the humidity of the board and surrounding area fluctuate.
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cj wrote: ...

Ones I'm familiar w/ do, anyway (altho haven't been where there is a borg for over 10 yrs now, wouldn't expect basic stocking to have changed much). I'd expect you'll find birch and oak easily although it'll probably require purchasing a whole sheet if need over 4-ft length; sometimes you can find half-sheets but they'll be 4x4 not 2x8.
How wide a cap are you thinking of?
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cj wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_theorem
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